Writing a treatment for a TV show can be a daunting task. Luckily, it is not impossible or even difficult to write, especially if you have a clear idea of what kind of show you want to make. The clearer the concept is to you, the easier the treatment will be to write. If you know where the conflict is coming from or how you want it to be resolved, you’ll be able to write that treatment.
Writing a treatment for a TV show is all about distilling it into its most important scenes and characters. It’s around eight to sixteen pages long, single spaced, using Courier New, 12-point font. It must include the main conflict of the story, as well as action sequences and the resolution and climax of that conflict. The characters should also be described here. All these things should be described in the present tense, using the perspective of the writer, which is you. Think of it as a quick guide to the TV show you want to make.
The benefits of writing a treatment for a TV show are numerous. First of all, when it comes to selling it to an executive, there’s nothing like a treatment to immediately get their attention. Producers and executives are extremely busy people, with multi-million dollar projects that constantly require their attention. Your treatment is a quick and solid look at what your story is all about without forcing them to read a forty-page script.
As a writer, writing a treatment for a TV show might actually help you make the entire concept clearer to yourself. If you’re not sure where you’re going with it, how is anyone else supposed to? Write a treatment and you’ll inevitably find what’s missing because you won’t be able to write that part of the treatment. The problem with writing a script is that it is inevitably long and requires multiple rewrites to go back and fix or add characters and concepts. Writing a treatment for a TV show gives you something shorter and easier to work with, something you can easily edit, which concisely outlines the main points.
If you cannot clearly visualize the main conflict, writing a treatment puts everything else into focus and provides a document that can serve as the foundation for the TV screenplay. In fact, many successful writers begin with the treatment so they can focus on the most important parts. All too often TV scripts are too long and filled with nonessential scenes. Starting with the most crucial components will make you more productive and minimize the number of scenes that end up on the cutting room floor.